The NHL trade deadline is less than three weeks away, but despite some notable names being kicked around the rumor mill, there hasn’t been much trade activity so far.
The main reason for that is the lack of available talent. There aren’t a lot of teams in sell mode right now and those who are have little to offer.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported the pickings are so slim for top-six forwards that Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke may have to decide to stand pat at the trade deadline.
Considering the Leafs have won six of their past 10 to climb back into a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, it might not be a bad idea for Burke to stick with what he’s got, provided the team continues to play well up to deadline day.
Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski was mentioned as a centerpiece in many trade rumors that involved players such as Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Columbus’ Jeff Carter.
Grabovski’s performance in recent games (seven points in his past five games, 20 points since Jan. 3) could bolster his trade value, but it also increases his value to a Leafs team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
KINGS CAPPED OUT
Like the Maple Leafs, the low-scoring Los Angeles Kings are also in the market for a scoring forward.
It’s believed Lombardi is seeking a first-line winger, but they’re as scarce as first-line centers right now.
WILL RUUTU COME OFF THE BOARD?
The market for top-six forwards may get thinner in the coming days if the Carolina Hurricanes don’t get a decent offer for right winger Tuomo Ruutu.
It was rumored Ruutu, slated for unrestricted free agency this summer, wouldn’t be re-signed by the Hurricanes, but GM Jim Rutherford intends to meet with him this week to discuss the Finn’s future.
Rutherford already surprised the hockey world by re-signing defenseman Tim Gleason, a player many thought was available for trade. It’s possible Rutherford will attempt to re-sign Ruutu if trade offers are lacking, but the right winger’s salary demands have to be reasonable for that to happen.
NASH’S NAME POPS UP AGAIN
Rick Nash’s name has once again appeared in the rumor mill, this time courtesy of a report by Sportsnet’s John Shannon, who said he was contacted by friends of Nash claiming their pal wasn’t happy with the direction the Blue Jackets had taken and wouldn’t stand in the way of a trade.
This isn’t the first time speculation over Nash’s “unhappiness” has popped up. His response last month to a hypothetical question posed by a Columbus Dispatch reporter that he wouldn’t refuse a trade if he were asked to waive his no-trade clause by management created a bit of a sensation.
Nash’s insistence that he wanted to remain with the Blue Jackets was overlooked and that he would continue to put his trust in management’s decisions.
Nash undoubtedly cannot be pleased over how things have gone this season. Still, there’s no indication Blue Jackets management intends to shop its captain and franchise player, so it could fall upon Nash to demand a trade if he truly wants out of Columbus.
DON’T EXPECT IGINLA TO BE TRADED
Another month, another opportunity for Calgary Flames right winger Jarome Iginla to deny he wants to be dealt.
Following the morning skate leading up to Monday’s Flames-Ducks game, Iginla said he intended to stick with the Flames and believed they had a good chance at making the playoffs in the very tight Western Conference.
‘Iggy’ won’t be dealt this season, but despite his frequent denials – and those of Flames GM Jay Feaster – that he’ll be traded, he’ll probably end up having to answer the same questions again in the off-season, especially if the Flames miss the playoffs.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla’s Korner.